Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Stroll

To celebrate the official start of spring, I took a stroll of the neighborhood.  I used to walk the area early most every morning but, when my knee started acting up, the orthopedist recommended I substitute a stationary bike for walking.  I still miss those daily walks and as I've also lost track of what's going on in the neighborhood, I decided to turn a deaf ear to the orthopedist and celebrate spring by taking a stroll with my camera this morning.

The trees across the street have leafed out - fortunately, they're just out of the line-of-sight of my foliage-averse neighbor (whose house can be shown just above another neighbor's Nerium oleander on the right)

The neighbors across the street are partially hidden behind Alyogyne huegelii (Blue Hibiscus) and what I think is Iris sibirica 'Butter & Sugar'

The next house is almost completely hidden by hedges but this wonderful Leucospermum makes an appearance every spring

I've killed 2 of these but think I have to try growing it again

The owners of the house on the other side of the street have replaced some of their shrubs with succulents.  I'm in love with that variegated Aloe (Aloe arborescens 'Variegata'?)

I don't recall noticing the large coral tree (Erythrina) just up the street before - how can that be?  Perhaps it's because I always focus on the even larger pine tree next to it.

It's impossible to miss the vibrant pink Bougainvillea surrounding this house.  I like the Bougainvillea best when it tumbles down the slope, as shown on right.


Rather than continue along the neighborhood road, I hiked up to the entrance to our neighborhood, which has been undergoing a mini-renovation since the city removed several trees along the main road as part of a 4-month project to repave that road and improve safety.  The left turn into our neighborhood used to be a bit scary as we faced a blind curve and drivers tend to come along from the other direction at speeds well above the posted limits (despite regular speed traps set by the sheriff's department).

The area sloping down from the main road has been cleaned up, leaving mostly succulent plants.  That huge white building on the other side of the main road is a house (even if it looks as though it could pass for city hall).

The area along the main road was recently replanted with Bougainvillea, Limonium, Cistanthe grandiflora (formerly known as Calandrinia) and Hesperaloe - all very drought tolerant selections


Walking back the way I came, I noticed things I haven't seen when driving the same route.

The California pepper trees (Schinus molle) are loaded with berries

This street-side planting of an ornamental banana tree and Agave attenuata looks great despite being irrigated by nothing more than run-off from the house above

One house on my route is surrounded by remarkably healthy Hibiscus shrubs (two years ago they were infested with white fly so I was impressed by their current condition)


Moving back along the neighborhood road from the point I'd veered off, I was confronted by the weed-strewn property that was once framed with roses and Pelargoniums.

This house makes me sad as it had a vibrant garden before it was sold.  I have no doubt the new owners plan extensive renovations but did they have to clear the property of life a year in advance of the beginning of work?  

Although this is a poor photo, I think this is Aesculus californica, a California native buckeye

The house across the street has planted a Jacaranda - I look forward to those beautiful (if messy) blooms

All the boulders surrounding the next house look like this - there was no attempt to give them a more natural look by burying their bases

The renovation of this house, which started about the time we moved in, is finally complete.  It's far larger than this photo suggests, a split-level home, sitting on close to 2 acres that slopes into a canyon

Cistanthe (Calandrinia) is already in bloom in this front garden

Opuntia pads were planted in front of this house (to create a barrier?).  The parent plant stands behind an electrified gate in front of a Spanish-style house.


Just beyond this point, there's a road that used to connect to other neighborhoods.  Many years before we moved here, it was closed following a community vote.  This has contributed immeasurably to the relative peace of our neighborhood by eliminating commuter traffic.

Ugly yellow concrete pylons prevent cars from entering our neighborhood but it's possible to walk through to the neighborhood beyond

Echium lines both side of the former street.  I briefly wondered if I could get away with digging up the Echium seedling on the lower left.


On the other side of the closed road is an empty lot.  The house that once occupied this double lot reportedly burned down many years ago and the land has been for sale ever since.  I'd thought to walk the space to see what kind of view it has but stopped as the weeds are currently waist-high in spots.

There are tall plants of what I beleive must be some kind of Borage all over the property, as well as lupine sprouting up through what must have been a driveway


Slightly further down the road, I noticed that a "for sale" sign was up in front of the house of one of the most active gardeners in our neighborhood.  We'd received notice that she and her husband planned to move but I was sad to see the sign anyway.  Her garden is beautiful and I really hope another gardener buys the property.

The gardener terraced her frontyard after she moved in 14-15 years ago

A few of the plants occupying her front garden

The 2 most magnificent garden specimens are on display here
In addition to a 100-year old pine, she's got the largest Leucospermum I've ever seen


The street level rises again from this point, as I headed back home.

This slope is covered by ivy and fronted with palms, Agapanthus, Hemerocallis, Phormium and Strelitzia

This is one of 2 "spur roads" that stem off from our neighborhood road

I think these shrubs are Cassia didmobotrya (said to smell like popcorn)

My neighbor's driveway with our trees shown in the background


I hope spring is in the air wherever you are, even if there's still snow on the ground.  We're having a span of pleasant spring-like weather here, although forecasters are predicting yet another warm-up in the 90F (32C) range for the middle of next week.  However you're spending the weekend, enjoy it!


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

31 comments:

  1. This was a fun and interesting walk through your neighborhood. I was kind of hoping you'd show us the garden/yard of the complaining neighbor who hates trees, so that we could all talk about her. Leucospermums have such cool flowers.

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    1. It occurred to me after the fact, that I hadn't included any photos of the complaining neighbor's surroundings but then her house, like more than half of those in my neighborhood, isn't readily visible from the street as it's up a long driveway. She always puts in a few annuals at the bottom of the driveway around her mailbox but the area around the house itself looks fairly barren, as another neighbor also mentioned to me. I've never paid her a personal visit and don't plant to.

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  2. Fascinating glimpse of your neighbourhood Kris! So much interest going on. Mostly good things and some will make you wonder. Hopefully another keen gardener will buy that property with a well tended garden already.

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    1. The realtor seems to be talking up the seller's garden as part of the package so, hopefully, that'll attract buyers interested in gardening.

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  3. I do love a neighborhood walk, seeing how people live in other parts of the country. Thank you! Both you and Denise just featured gorgeous blooming leucospermum, oh that I could grow those!!! And yes - you should dig that little echium seedling!

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    1. I picked up a Leucospermum on my nursery trek with a friend today. It's not blooming size yet, though.

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  4. With one or two exceptions it looks like you are a neighbourhood of gardeners, so much leaf and bloom. A lovely place to live.

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    1. It is a very nice neighborhood in a nice area. We were lucky to find the property at the right time.

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  5. Have lived in southern Cal. for three decades, but moved last year to Northern Cal. and most things are not in bloom yet -except for daffodils and cherry trees. Thanks for sharing these beautiful garden views!

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    1. I hope your transition is going well, Jeanette - transplanting isn't easy when one has been rooted in a location for a long time. While NorCal is also experiencing a drought, it isn't as severe as that we face here so your surroundings may be greener that ours in SoCal as the year progresses. Best wishes.

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  6. Well apologies to your orthopedist, but that was a lovely walk! Thanks for taking us all along with you.

    I had to laugh at the lupine coming up in what used to be some sort of driveway. Lupines here in Texas are notorious for "volunteering" to grow in granite pathways or gravel drives.

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    1. What's annoying about that lupine, Deb, is that I've repeatedly tried to get them to establish in my backyard since moving here to no avail - I guess they like to find their own spots the hard way!

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    2. Try throwing seed out where it would be irritating to have them come up and they'll probably show up in droves. Lupines around here seem to display a true "oh yeah?" approach to gardening.

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    3. Hmm. Last year one plant did appear in the middle of some Carex, possibly brought in with the topsoil I'd added to improve drainage...

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  7. Thanks for the tour! I really love the leucospermums.

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    1. I love them too! I was thinking about asking one or both neighbors for cuttings to try my hand at rooting some but I found a yellow Leucospermum at the Australian Native Nursery 2+ hours to the north this past weekend. Now, if I can just keep it alive to reach blooming size...

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  8. I noticed that yellow leuc just down from your house. But that orange one, wow! I actually bought and killed a yellow, but I think it's the orange I'm after now. With your knees, I don't know how you scramble up and down your property like you do. I hate to bring up the subject, but so many trees of different character in your neighborhood. That stone pine is magnificent.

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    1. It is very hilly here - I've had a meniscus tear in my right knee for years but it didn't present a problem until I moved here and started walking the hills and gardening on a slope. My neighbor planted that orange Leucospermum in what I think must be the perfect spot - it gets full sun all day, has perfect drainage along a slope, and was given lots of room to spread out.

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  9. I love the tour of your neighborhood, though with the hilly topography, I understand your orthopedist's warning! I am impressed with the beautiful flowers growing in many of the yards. Even casual gardeners seem to have lovely landscapes, except for the one who exchanged roses for weeds! I have never seen leucospermums; what a treat!

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    1. The hills provide good exercise but they have proven taxing on my already compromised right knee. I'll eventually need a knee replacement but I'm trying to put that off awhile yet (by following most of my orthopedist's recommendations).

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  10. I enjoyed the stroll round your neighbourhood Kris. What beautiful plants there are are all around you. I particularly loved the yellow flowers of the Leucospermum. I have never seen anything like it before.

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    1. I've wanted a yellow Leucospermum for ages but I was convinced they were difficult to impossible to grow until I moved here and saw the 2 fine specimens in my own neighborhood. I killed a yellow seedling plant I picked up at a garden show last year but I'm hoping for more success with the potted specimen I picked up this weekend on a nursery trek with a friend.

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  11. Thank you for the tour, Kris. Your neighborhood is beautiful! Everything looks so exotic to this East coaster.....and lush! I can understand why you miss your walks!

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    1. This neighborhood walk has me wondering is I can afford to to start walking again on modest scale - once every 2 weeks or so maybe...

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  12. Interesting tour of your neighborhood. The Leucospermums are magnificent--I wonder if mine will ever get 1/10th that size--they must love the coast. There's also a blocked-off road in my neighborhood--desperate commuters are everywhere.

    I dread yet another heat wave. Can't someone make it stop?!?

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    1. If there was someone who could make the heatwaves stop, Hoover Boo, I'd personally start a fundraising campaign to support them! Last year's May heatwaves came as a pair so maybe this next one will be it for the balance of spring. We can hope anyway!

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  13. Leucospermum envy here... ;-) Those are magnificent! And now I will have to remember to write "Cistanthe"... especially as mine has made a full come-back, though it isn't blooming yet - almost. There's a lot of lovely planting in your neighborhood, Kris! I'm sure that must be inspiring.

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    1. Since I saw those blooming Cistanthe/Callandrinia, I've noticed others but mine aren't anywhere close to blooming - I think they must want more sun. I look forward to seeing yours in a future post, Amy!

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  14. Your neighbourhood is really beautiful. The leucospermums and bouganvilleas are stunning! But it's great to see that there are still some tall trees around despite your neighbours efforts at cutting them all down (ironically, she appears to have her blinds drawn after reclaiming 'her' view).

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    1. Only trees in the complaining neighbor's line of sight appear to be at risk, Matt. The house with the drawn blinds is actually just above and slightly left of hers (it wasn't a good photo). That neighbor did collaborate with her to the extent of taking photos on her behalf but, as he's new to the neighborhood and probably hasn't noticed any significant change in the view he had upon purchase, I suspect he's simply trying to be supportive of her as his closest neighbor.

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  15. Such a different spring with so many different flowers...I really love the look of the Leucospermum...

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